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Review Essay

Reading Hume in Tehran

The Iranian Revolution and the Enlightenment

In This Review

Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran
Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran
By Laura Secor
Riverhead Books, 2016, 528 pp. Purchase

When Iran makes headlines, it is usually as a result of its conflicts with other countries. Far less attention is paid to Iran’s conflicts with itself, which are still raging nearly 40 years after the revolution that brought forth the Islamic Republic. Despite the images of a monolithic, repressed, hyper-devout society that sometimes serve as a shorthand for Iran in Western media, the country is in fact the site of a great deal of political and ideological contestation. As Laura Secor writes in her new book, Children of Paradise, “Iran does not have a culture of passive citizenship, despite the best efforts of its rulers, past and present, to produce one. What it does have in many quarters is a restless determination to challenge injustice and to seize control of its destiny.”

Secor, who has reported from and written about Iran for The New YorkerThe New York Times Magazine

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